In February 2017, Spotify released a list of the 10 most popular songs to have sex to. They compiled the list by surveying over 2 million of their sex playlists and calculated the top 10 based on two factors: how often the song landed on one of these playlists and how many streams the song received strictly from these playlists.
At first glance, the list possesses some obvious uniformity. The Weeknd, Trey Songz and Jeremih all appear on the list twice, nine out of the 10 songs have extremely popular music videos and nine out of the 10 songs are performed by male artists.
After listening to these songs countless times, it's clear that the similarities run much more deeply than they appear. In fact, I believe I have discovered the formula required to make a universally successful sex song. I’ve boiled the formula down into three easy steps which, if followed properly, will guarantee the success of a song made for people to listen to during sex.
Step One: Picking an instrumental
The key focus in choosing an instrumental is to find one that blends seamlessly into the background. Sex music is background music, and backgrounds are to be ignored. This is doubly important because, in order to gain as many streams as possible, the song must fit in with any and all sex playlists. Luckily, mimicking the music of other artists has never been easier, because all it requires is a quick YouTube search.
First, simply type in the name of an artist who makes popular sex music, like Jeremih. Next, add the words “type beat” to the search. A near-infinite number of “Jeremih type beats” will now appear, each one nearly indiscernible from the next. After choosing any one of them, it’s time for step two.
Step Two: Choosing a theme
For the song to be popular, it can’t just be about sex. It has to be about a certain kind of sex.
This is the part of the song that requires a little bit of creativity — not too much creativity, mind you. Any unnecessary originality will only serve to take the listener’s attention away from the task at hand.
A good example of a theme can be found in the song “Slow Motion” by Trey Songz, which came in at number five on Spotify’s list. This song works because it’s not just about sex; it’s about slow sex. The theme will also serve as the chorus, just as it does in “Slow Motion,” in which Trey Songz repeats “Slow motion, we can take our time, baby” over and over again until the song seemingly lulls itself into ending. This minimal amount of creativity is essential in assuring the song a spot on the go-to playlist of any young couple looking to get it on.
Step Three: Writing vague lyrics
This is the final and most laborious step of creating the song.
The key here is to, again, make sure that none of the lyrics have any conscious effect on the listener. The easiest way to do this is to write about sex in the most vague terms imaginable.
The artist aims to write about sex as if everything they know about sex is what they’ve learned from listening to other songs about sex. That is to say, they are not writing about a personal experience of sex, but instead about an experience of sex in general. The lyrics must simultaneously be universally applicable and completely impersonal. While it may seem difficult to write lyrics that meet these criteria, keep in mind that they don’t necessarily have to make sense. No one is going to be sitting down at a desk dissecting these songs — except for me, apparently — and so narrative structure is of little importance.
In the number seven song on Spotify’s list, Trey Songz’s “Neighbors Know My Name," the following lyrics are sung: “So the music gon' be loud, you gon' scream and shout. Girl, your body's a problem, they call me the problem solver.” These lyrics make just enough sense to be comprehensible, without venturing too far into the realm of meaning so as to provoke any thoughts that might distract the listener from the sex they will surely be having to it.
That's all it takes. So long as these three steps have been followed closely, the song is sure to rack up millions of streams as couples around the world forget that it's even playing.